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Morocco's Regragui fires warning to Belgian-born stars about 'expensive mistakes' ahead of World Cup clash

6:46 AM GMT 27/11/2022
Walid Regragui of Morocco
Morocco head coach Walid Regragui has warned his Belgian-born stars not to be 'too emotional' when they face their country of birth on Sunday.
  • There are four Belgian-born players in the Atlas Lions squad in Qatar
  • El Khannouss and Zaroury played for Belgium at youth level
  • Regragui described their match as special

WHAT HAPPENED? The Atlas Lions are set to square off with the Red Devils in Sunday's 2022 Fifa World Cup Group F match at Al Thumama Stadium in the capital city of Qatar, Doha.
Regragui's squad includes four players who were born in Belgium namely, Selim Amallah, Ilias Chair, Bilal El Khannouss as well as Anass Zaroury.
The 47-year-old tactician urged his charges to remain focused on their 'special' match against the second-best team in the world on the Fifa rankings.

WHAT DID REGRAGUI SAY?: "For any dual national... they have a special emotion and that's a positive energy and you have to draw on that," Regragui told the media.
"But it is a match that we need to win (irrespective) of who we are playing. We have to focus on that.
"We know that this is a special match for them, but we have to put that into context," the France-born former Morocco international continued.
"You cannot get too emotional because that could lead you to make mistakes. And that could be very expensive for us."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco are coming into this match having started their Group F campaign with a 0-0 draw against 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia on Wednesday.
Therefore, the Atlas Lions are placed third on the group standings - two points behind leaders Belgium who edged out Canada 1-0 in their first match in Qatar.
A win over the Red Devils will see Regragui's side climb to the top of the standings if the result between Croatia and Canada goes their way on the same day.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR REGRAGUI?: The former Wydad Casablanca coach will be looking to emulate his compatriot Jamal Fathi who remains the only coach to have guided the Atlas Lions to a win over Belgium.
Fathi masterminded an emphatic 4-1 win over the Red Devils in a friendly match in March 2008 and it remains the last meeting between the two teams.